New police station embraces technology


Community relations Officer Chad McNett describes a holding pen, which will be cushioned for intoxicated criminals, in the booking room of the new police station Tuesday. The station is set to open in 10 to 14 days. 

By Lark Lewis

The DeKalb Police Department will be able to call a new building their home in 10 to 14 days.

Talk of the Police Department getting a new facility has been in the works for more than 10 years, and the new building, located at 700 W. Lincoln Highway, is an upgrade from the building police are currently operating out of, both community relations officer Chad McNett and Cmdr. Jason Leverton said. The Police Department will have a grand opening celebration that will be open to the public.

The new facility is stocked with conference rooms with laptop ports, 3-D televisions, pressure-sensitive microphones in interview rooms and modernized lockers.

“We were lucky to get these [lockers],” McNett said. “All of the lockers are piped with ventilation, so air is pumped through all the vents and exhausted out of the building.”

The locker ventilation will be helpful on hot days when officers’ vests become sweaty; they can put their vests in the locker and they will be dry and aired out. The lockers are also equipped with a locking pistol drawer and outlets and are made of steel.

Throughout the new station, there are five conference rooms for each department that have been upgraded significantly.

“We have all the audio, visual things pre-wired, we have projectors and extra side monitors. They’re equipped with wireless microphones, and we have a podium rewired for laptops or any gadgetry,” McNett said.

The biggest change from the old facility to the new facility is the increased amount of space.

“There’s no question the new facility will allow us to work better because its ability to separate our functions helps us get work done,” Leverton said.

The workout room has almost quadrupled in size and the booking system has been completely revamped.

“There are so many things that are such an improvement, but probably the best single improvement would be having a booking facility that’s set up much better right now,” Leverton said.

The booking facility has isolation cells for problematic arrestees, and it also has a cage cell that can hold multiple people for busy shifts, which the current station does not possess.

McNett said a favorite feature of many officers is a cushioned cell for criminals who are intoxicated. The cell has a flushable drain to make cleanup easy.

The added space has allowed the Police Department to look into providing more programs that could benefit the public, like hosting self-defense classes and even using the conference rooms as command centers during emergencies.

A main feature of design at the new facilities is the replica of the Police Department’s coin that is on the second floor and is visible from Carroll Avenue.

Directly below the coin on the second floor is the department’s mission statement, which greets visitors as they enter the building.

“We worked with an architect who has worked with police departments before, so we were actually able to visit some other sites they had done,” McNett said. “We could talk to the cops in those buildings and find out what they liked and didn’t like, so that was an advantage.”